Bark…bark…wag…wag…smile! Let’s go! Your dog is ready for a road trip. He loves the thrill of riding in the car, smelling new scents, visiting new areas and above all, spending time with his human or the family. Preparing for the road trip is an important part of enjoying a pleasant and memorable outing. Some simple steps will ensure a safe, happy trip and keep the smiles coming and the tails wagging.
Some advance planning and preparation will make it a smooth and enjoyable trip for all. The first step involves a visit to the veterinarian. It is important to be sure Buddy is in the best shape for traveling and vaccinations are current.
A trip to the doctor is in order
Advise your veterinarian about your upcoming road trip and the doctor will perform a general exam, administer any necessary vaccinations such as rabies, parvo, bordetella and possibly Lyme disease prevention treatment. Depending on areas you may be traveling through, your doctor may recommend flea and tick prevention methods such as special collars or liquid applications. If you are traveling with a senior dog, the doctor may give you specific suggestions to ensure your elderly dog travels in comfort. Remember to pack any medications the dog may take on a regular basis.
The veterinarian will issue a certificate of health including a current rabies vaccination document. These items should be carried with the owner and the dog at all times. Some hotels or other dog-friendly establishments require verification of the dog’s vaccination records.
Check on the chip
Responsible pet owners know the importance of a well-fitted collar and a name tag with a current phone number but collars can come off. It is wise to also invest in micro-chipping your dog. The cost is nominal, usually less than $30.00; it is administered as a vaccination between the dog’s shoulder blades with minimal or no pain. The micro-chip is no bigger than a grain of rice and can be read by most scanning technology.
However, depending on the age of the micro-chip and the method of scanning, it may not always be detectable. Therefore, it is most important to always handle your dog as a caring, alert and responsible owner exercising good judgment and practicing safety measures at all times.
Pack the first aid kit
The next step is to prepare or purchase a travel first aid kit. You can gather the items necessary or a pet first aid kit may be purchased. There are several sites online that list pet first aid kits. Your veterinarian may also sell kits or may recommend another good source to buy a prepared kit if you do not wish to make your own.
Carry contact information
Carry a note with the owner’s name, emergency contact information, veterinarian’s contact info and dog’s name in the event the owner becomes incapacitated and cannot assist in an emergency situation.
It is also wise to gather the contact information for a poison control hotline and a 24-hour emergency veterinarian hospital in the area of your final destination. The ASPCA website has very good information regarding animal poison control available to the public.
This may sound like a lot to do prior to traveling with your four-legged pal but in the unlikely event of an emergency, you will be ready and able to provide quality care and possibly save your dog’s life.
Traveling by car with your dog can be fun, but remember that you and your pet’s safety comes first.
Never let your dog roam freely when you’re driving. Even if you’re driving with a companion, make sure that your dog is securely restrained. This will not only protect your dog in case of a sudden impact, but it will also prevent it from causing distractions while you drive.
Also, if you’re traveling far, give your dog a break from time to time. Unlike your friends, they CAN’T ask you to stop by the nearest rest stop for a toilet break.
And if you need to leave your car, don’t ever leave your dog alone if you will be out for a long time. This is especially true if the weather is too hot – this is a hazard for any pet. If you leave them alone in the car, all windows closed, the heat inside can cause them severe damage, or worse, they can even die.
Make dog friends
With everything packed, and proper precautions administered, it’s time to make some friends on your trip. Dogs are social animals, so expect some friendly encounters with other dog owners, especially if you’re headed to a pet-friendly establishment.
If you’re out on a trip to a local park, it’s almost impossible not to befriend other dogs. Befriending their owners can come in handy, too! You may gather some intel on the best hangout places for dogs in your town, or where to find the best vets to care for your pet.
They may even be the best companion for your dog if you have to leave him alone and you don’t want him to spend a night at a veterinary clinic.
Let’s get going!
Still barkin’ and waggin’…Buddy wants to know, “Can we go now?” Happy trails with wagging tails and smiles ahead.